From the Gospel of Luke. Chapter 15: 1-10
Parable of the Lost Sheep
1Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. 2This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people- even eating with them!
3So Jesus told them this story: 4"If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying. 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.'
7In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven't strayed away!
Parable of the Lost Coin
8"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, whe will call in her friends and neighbors and say, 'Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.' 10In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
Who are you in these parables? It's plain to see that God is the shepherd and the woman. His people are the sheep, and the coins. But there are two different kinds of sheep. Two different kinds of coins. There's the lost and the found. Which one are you? If you're one of the found, that's great, be happy! The LORD God calls you His. But maybe these Parables are aimed at the lost. For the lonely, wandering sheep. Or the old, dusty coin hiding under the bed. Are you one of the lost? If you are, don't be afraid; don't worry! The LORD is searching for you. Yes, He loves all of those whom he has already found, but He chooses to search for the lost, so that they may be saved! He does not give up, nor does He tire. All day and all night he is searching, holding out His hand. Take it! It's such an amazing feeling, being one of the found. I know this from experience. My Father found me in July at Lifest in Oshkosh, WI. He reached out His hand and I took it and held it firm. I still have not let go, and neither should you. When I first came to the LORD, it was such an amazing feeling, but that can easily fade if you tuck that experience in a box and put it away. But here's some advice: don't put it away. Keep it with you always.
To all those lost sheep: don't be afraid to come to the LORD, your Shepherd when He calls you, for all the heavens and the earth will rejoice when you are found!
Now, to all those already found: keep holding on; keep a strong faith. Don't look down upon those who have not been found. Try giving them a nudge. You know the way to God, so point them in the right direction.
Now... which one are you?